Most organizations already use accounting software to issue invoices, track accounts payable, manage payroll and so on.
How does accounting software help?
Accounting software can help you:
- increase staff productivity
- get insights into overall financial performance
- create consolidated financial statements
- improve data accuracy
- decrease outstanding accounts receivable and
- make fact-based decisions.
What does accounting software do?
Accounting software handles all financial aspects of your company. The simplest programs help you pay bills, prepare invoices, calculate sales taxes, automate general ledger transactions, and track cash flow, revenue and expenses.
More sophisticated versions may include modules for payroll, inventory control, sales analysis and enhanced reporting. Some systems are customized to the needs of specific industries.
Consider today’s needs and tomorrow’s plans
Many small businesses start with off-the-shelf accounting software but outgrow it after a few years. You may want to consider whether the vendor you select addresses more complex needs such as multi-currency or multi-company requirements, and will let you easily upgrade in the near future to a more advanced solution, such as an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system.
As your needs become more complex, ERP systems allow you to centralize internal and external information across your organization to help you plan and allocate resources more effectively. By giving everyone in your organization access to the same up-to-date information, they help you break down internal boundaries between teams and automate core processes. Worldwide vendors that are known for their ERP solutions include SAP, Oracle JD Edwards, Baan, and Microsoft Dynamics, to name a few.
However, since the price for ERP software can easily range from $10,000 to $100,000 plus implementation fees, and the focus of this review is on free and low-cost applications, ERP solutions have not been taken into consideration.
Free and low-cost accounting software
If you are looking for low-cost or free accounting products, you may want to consider the following. (SaaS refers to “software as a service.”)
Revised November 2014
This table lists applications alphabetically and isn’t exhaustive. Hyperlinks to external sites do not constitute endorsement by BDC of those websites or any information, opinions, products or services expressed or described on them.
Furthermore, the list is only a starting point and excludes applications not offered either in English or in French, or that are neither low cost nor free. When assessing which solution is best for your organization, you will probably consider many other factors.
BDC will review and edit this list regularly. If you are an accounting software vendor and would like us to consider adding your solution, please contact us.